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Which Alpa lenses are best for stitching?

mmbma

Active member
Which lenses can take full advantage of the Alpa XY's stitching ability? I currently use the 47mm xl, which is flexible. I winder what other lenses have people found useful with stitching on XY or a Max?
 

dchew

Well-known member
Assuming you start with the largest digital sensor (40.4 x 53.7 mm) and ignoring the XY's ability to rise 45mm, a 25mm shift in all directions results in a 90x104 image with a 138mm diagonal.

A few of the newer lenses have ~120mm image circles, like the sk60xl or the Rodi 90. But to take " full advantage" of the image area you will need to look at the older lenses with larger IC's like the sk 80xl or 58xl. I don't have any experience with those.

Dave
 

narikin

New member
As nearly everyone here recognizes, you can't have it all. You can have a large image circle or superb resolution or speed, but not all three.

People praise the Schneider 60XL, but the copy I tried was ok, nothing remarkable, apart from that big image circle (for a digital lens). It was inferior in the central single-shot area, compared to the Rodenstock 60mm Digaron-S, which has no stitching potential. It's always a trade-off. Likewise, if you use old film format lenses you will have a huge circle but far poorer resolution, though admittedly at an economic cost.

About the only lens I feel is an exception is the Rodenstock 90mm HR (the yellow banded one). Which is imho simply the best MF digital lens out there. It is in another league, and can do a full 4-way stitch without any problems and sharpness way beyond anything else I have used or seen in digital MF. It is the nearest thing we have to an Otus in Medium Format. It costs $7000, but you will not regret it, once you see the results. It's jaw dropping.
 

mmbma

Active member
Thanks for the feedback. I got a Aptus 12 so it's both large in size and demanding in resolution.

I am using an older 47xl and I find the IQ to be okay. Certainly not the sharpest in the world but enough. I'm looking for a large image circle lens at a longer focal Length. That 90 sounds promising.
 

Paul2660

Well-known member
You also might consider the Rodenstock 105mm HR series, much older, cheaper and very sharp, not mention tiny compared to the 90mm.

Also, with the back you are using, I would still consider the older versions of the 90mm Rod, the HR or the Apo-sironar digital. Both have the pink bands, and are very good lenses and 125mm image circle. Rodenstock took the latest version, the yellow band down to 120mm. For me just too expensive for a focal length I don't use that often. The yellow band requires an extension piece between the back and camera, unlike the earlier versions. The Rod 105 works without any extensions.

I have the 60SK, and would say that my experience is totally 180 from the other comments. Extremely sharp on center and the only lens I own that will shift to 25mm and hold up for a large print. You need the center filter if you are going to take it that far out. I have used it on both 80 and 60MP backs with great success. I also believe Guy Mancuso owned one and used it for a while on his IQ160.

Paul
 

narikin

New member
Also, with the back you are using, I would still consider the older versions of the 90mm Rod, the HR or the Apo-sironar digital. Both have the pink bands, and are very good lenses and 125mm image circle. Rodenstock took the latest version, the yellow band down to 120mm. For me just too expensive for a focal length I don't use that often. The yellow band requires an extension piece between the back and camera, unlike the earlier versions. The Rod 105 works without any extensions.

I have the 60SK, and would say that my experience is totally 180 from the other comments. Extremely sharp on center and the only lens I own that will shift to 25mm and hold up for a large print. You need the center filter if you are going to take it that far out. I have used it on both 80 and 60MP backs with great success. I also believe Guy Mancuso owned one and used it for a while on his IQ160.

Paul
I found the older version of the 90mm Roddy to be rather poor, and I'm not alone in that, judging by the pressure put on Rodenstock to up their game in the 90mm by Alpa. A 2 or 4-way stitch on the (new) 90 suits me just great for angle of view, and gives truly stunning results to the extreme corners on a MAX.

The SK 60mm is exceptional for its super wide image circle, though as Paul says you need a center filter if you are going out there. It is perfectly sharp in the center, but not up to the resolution of a lens that has been formulated only for that center coverage. It's simple optics (and logic) - that as you expand the circle, something has to give. I owned both 60mm Alpa SK and Rod lenses for a couple of weeks, and let the 60SK go back in the end, as I personally didn't use its huge circle, (don't own an XY) and already have the 50mm Roddy - so, enough.

No experience of the 105mm Roddy mentioned. Be careful if you try the new 90mmHR, you will never be happy with any of your other MF lenses again - it puts every other lens in the shade.
 

torger

New member
If you're happy with the 47XL (I have that as well) you have a healthy view on resolution and sharpness :)

It's easy to go crazy in the world of tech cams, but there are more things to consider than resolution and keeping resolving power distance from A7r or D800 or whatever the latest high resolution 135 system is. Number one reason for using a tech cam for me is creative power through movements, secondary is the very good image quality.

While SK Digitar lenses often is not as sharp as the latest Rodenstock Digarons they keep a traditional large format design, symmetrical small aperture simple and light lenses virtually distortion free and wonderful foggy bokeh. The simpler designs also lead to lower cost of course.

I like those traditional properties, and I have the 60XL too and yes it's true you do get some sharpness falloff towards the edges, but well I'm not too bothered.

Sharpness is the least of the problem though in this case. If you have an Aptus-II 12, ie 80 megapixel sensor, you need to take the color cast and crosstalk and microlens ripple issue seriously. Symmetric wide angle designs will introduce all those issues on the 12, so you need to consider aspects like dynamic range loss and color fidelity loss towards the sides. If you do extreme contrast increase (such as in some black-and-white processing) you might also get issues with visible ripple and tiling. Your image performance will be a lot dependent on the LCC algorithm (which in C1 fortunately is rather good!).

This should be an issue already with the 47XL, and if you're pleased with the results there a lens like the 60XL should be a good choice.
 

narikin

New member
Agreed with Torger - there is absolutely no way of avoiding doing LCC's with any stitching lens/ technique.

It will vary in amount and visibility, from one lens design to another, and from one stitch multiple to another, but truly is a 100% requirement you have to get used to locking into your workflow. Do not skip this! You will regret it later if you do.
 

f8orbust

Active member
The S/K 60mm is one of the best performing lenses I have used - and a great focal length for stitching since it can result in an image not too wide / not too long (in terms of 'focal length eqivalent appearance' of the stitched image).

I'm sure the R/S 90mm is superb - but, as with the 32mm (@$10000), the price (in Alpa mount) is extreme. Paying that for a lens takes the fun out of photography.

$10,000 for a lens, $40,000 for a digital back ... honestly, the world's been crazy for too long.

The first moment of sanity in a good while seems to be the just-announced Cambo Actus.

Jim
 

narikin

New member
Yeah, I kind of knew that any mild criticism of the SK 60mm would be rebutted, but I just am calling it as I found it on the sample I had.

Must point out that the SK60 is 5200Sfr from Alpa, and the 90mm HR Roddy 'Alpagon' is 5993SFr, (both +import taxes etc) so, really, there is not much difference in price. No idea where the $10,000 figure comes from, though both of those lenses are 'spendy', for sure!

You should decide which angle(s) of view you want and will work with the most. If you are going out to extreme edges on an XY, and want wider view, then the 60SK is perfect, and probably your only digital lens option at the widest points (the 40/32 Roddys are great if you are happy with 2 way stitching, which makes life easier)

If you are looking for a less extreme wide angle, then the 90mm with a 4 ways stitch gives a fov that is very well suited. Of course all these lenses give you 3 for 1 value - the original focal length, a 2 way stitch length, and a wider still 4 way stitch, so - that redeems their cost a bit. However your preferred angle of view is your call, and nobody else can advise you on that. Good Luck.
 

mmbma

Active member
I use LCC on my 47xl and results are pretty good as long as I keep the aperture above F8. I like stitching with normal and mid telephoto lenses. not a big fan of stitching with wide angle as I normally find the wide angle coverage already enough.

I'll probably grab a 90mm used lens in an older version, second hand.
 

GrahamWelland

Subscriber & Workshop Member
I found the older version of the 90mm Roddy to be rather poor, and I'm not alone in that, judging by the pressure put on Rodenstock to up their game in the 90mm by Alpa. A 2 or 4-way stitch on the (new) 90 suits me just great for angle of view, and gives truly stunning results to the extreme corners on a MAX.
Hmm, really? I have the 90HR-W with the blue ring and it's AWESOME - maybe not yellow ring $8k uber awesome but until I got my 23HR I didn't realize how sharp a lens could be. My 47 APO Digitar, 35 APO digitar and 150 APO digitars are also no slouches but the Rodies (and a 72XL I just traded) are just a notch above perfection.

Do you guys print or just pixel peep btw? It's a huge difference and can save you many $$$$k. Pixel peeping will make your best lens on an IQ260/Alpa have visible flaws. Print it at 24in or so and I challenge you to show me the same "flaws".

Just throwing in my $$ constrained reality here.
 

narikin

New member
I expect there is some sample variation, and maybe you have a good one Graham, in which case, lucky you!

Yesterday I printed an 8x5ft print (64x96") from a 4way stitch -90mm HR, IQ180, Alpa MAX. The file has *no interpolation* at all - pure pixels, no made up ones! It is amazing edge to edge, corner to corner. So, Yes we are talking prints here, not pixel-peeping.

You are right about small print sizes, but I don't think people would bother making multi panel stitches for small prints. Or at least I wouldn't.
 

Paul2660

Well-known member
I expect there is some sample variation, and maybe you have a good one Graham, in which case, lucky you!

Yesterday I printed an 8x5ft print (64x96") from a 4way stitch -90mm HR, IQ180, Alpa MAX. The file has *no interpolation* at all - pure pixels, no made up ones! It is amazing edge to edge, corner to corner. So, Yes we are talking prints here, not pixel-peeping.

You are right about small print sizes, but I don't think people would bother making multi panel stitches for small prints. Or at least I wouldn't.
Narikin

That's a awesome print!. What printer are you using? and canvas or paper. I can't go to 5 feel, only 44 borderless, and I tend to keep 1/2 inch for holding. My problem always with a paper print of this size, is getting it from printer to mounter, (I can't dry mount this size) without a V crease, they always tend to be right in the wrong spot.

Your method of pure resolution has always been my quest, way back to the days of 1ds MKII and using the Zork adapter to stitch 3 frames together.

Since I started printing from LR at 360 dpi and letting LR do final upres and sharpening, I am loving the results.

My 90 is the pink band, which is very sharp center, but does fall off a bit on extreme shift, say over 15mm. I missed out on the Blue band versions, never realizing they were gone. Still want to find a used one and upgrade on of these days.

However if Schneider ever gets the new 100mm out, I may go that way. This is supposed to be an excellent lens, not as big/heavy as the Roddie, and still has a 120mm image circle.

I would let both my 90mm HR and 105MM go for that lens.

Paul
 

Landscapelover

Senior Subscriber Member
Hi Michael,

I've found SK 60mm XL is an exceptional lens with great sharpness and huge image circle. It's absolutely not just an OK lens.
I may just lucky as my copy was handpicked by our Guy. Mine is in a Cambo mount.

Pramote
 

Pemihan

Well-known member
+1

I too have the SK 60XL (the new one) in Cambo mount and find it to be an exceptional lens.


Hi Michael,

I've found SK 60mm XL is an exceptional lens with great sharpness and huge image circle. It's absolutely not just an OK lens.
I may just lucky as my copy was handpicked by our Guy. Mine is in a Cambo mount.

Pramote
 

narikin

New member
There is a tale about a contractor coming to fit out a kitchen for a difficult customer who had many, many demands. At the end of a long negotiations, the contractor explained how they had been in the business for 40 years, and the customer could have it however they wanted: Highest Quality, Completed Quickly, Economically Priced. Just choose any 2... :)

The same thing applies to optics - you can't have it all

This is all I was trying to say about the SK60. It is a totally unique lens for its exceptionally large image circle and very high quality across that circle. It has normal speed at f5.6, and a price that most people would think is pretty high. ($6000 or so in USA). You can buy another 60mm lens by Rodenstock - the Digaron-S, that has effectively no extra image circle, is a but slightly sharper within that smaller circle for straight shooting, it is a full stop faster at f4, and is half the price of the SK.

So... its simple: if you want a 60mm lens and shoot stitched or with movements, then the SK is the one for you. If you shoot straight nearly all the time, or have another lens, like a 50mm or 70mm for stitching, then you will probably find the Roddy 60 is more suited.
 

alajuela

Member
There is a tale about a contractor coming to fit out a kitchen for a difficult customer who had many, many demands. At the end of a long negotiations, the contractor explained how they had been in the business for 40 years, and the customer could have it however they wanted: Highest Quality, Completed Quickly, Economically Priced. Just choose any 2... :)

The same thing applies to optics - you can't have it all

This is all I was trying to say about the SK60. It is a totally unique lens for its exceptionally large image circle and very high quality across that circle. It has normal speed at f5.6, and a price that most people would think is pretty high. ($6000 or so in USA). You can buy another 60mm lens by Rodenstock - the Digaron-S, that has effectively no extra image circle, is a but slightly sharper within that smaller circle for straight shooting, it is a full stop faster at f4, and is half the price of the SK.




So... its simple: if you want a 60mm lens and shoot stitched or with movements, then the SK is the one for you. If you shoot straight nearly all the time, or have another lens, like a 50mm or 70mm for stitching, then you will probably find the Roddy 60 is more suited.

Hi


Not quite sure what you are comparing - but apples to apples - both the Rodenstock and Schnieder 60 are within 300 USD +/- of each other in a copal 0 shutter.

Schneider 60mm f/5.6 Apo-Digitar Copal #0 = $3,264.95
Schneider 60mm f/5.6 Apo-Digitar Copal #0 03-1066463 B&H Photo


Rodenstock 60mm f/4 HR Digaron-S Lens Copal #0 = $2,979.00
Rodenstock 60mm f/4 HR Digaron-S Lens 150124 B&H Photo Video

I would assume Alpa, Cambo or Arca mounting would be identical within same brand for either lens

Thanks

Phil
 

dchew

Well-known member
In Alpa mounts and CHF,
Sk60xl 5,195
Rodi 60hr-s 3,753

So Alpa does charge a premium, but the Schneider is not twice the price. I have noticed lately the forums are putting an expansion factor on these lens prices though. I recently saw a thread with the 90hr at $10,000 (it is 5,993 in an Alpa mount). Makes me think I should sell all my lenses and buy a new set. Maybe I could buy an extra lens with the proceeds. :)

Dave
 

jotloob

Subscriber Member
In Alpa mounts and CHF,
Sk60xl 5,195
Rodi 60hr-s 3,753

So Alpa does charge a premium, but the Schneider is not twice the price. I have noticed lately the forums are putting an expansion factor on these lens prices though. I recently saw a thread with the 90hr at $10,000 (it is 5,993 in an Alpa mount). Makes me think I should sell all my lenses and buy a new set. Maybe I could buy an extra lens with the proceeds. :)

Dave
Dave , that is called generous roundup , independant of CHF , $ or € .:ROTFL:
 
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